27 July 2006

More on Lebanon, This Time From Britain

Sir Stephen Wall has written a scathing request for action from No. 10 Downing Street in New Statesman. In Monday's "Unhitch us from the Bush chariot" he calls heads of states and their citizens to simply watch TV and get riled up enough to act.

Indeed, why have the world's leaders failed to call Israel to task? Their claim to fight against a terrorist network that rudely captured two of their soldiers does not justify their unmerciful and relentless bombing of their neighbors, little regard for the innocent civilians who might be nearby Hezbollah centers. Didn't most of us learn this lesson on the playground? Just because your sister slugged you doesn't mean you have a right to pummel her in return.

And why does the American media favor Israel in its coverage of the goings on? Yesterday's New York Times plastered large yesterday's high of 14 total Israelis dead (all military), and today the lead photos cycling through the main page are of Israel bringing their wounded soldiers to hospitals. What of the 400+ killed in Lebanon, mostly civilians? That doesn't count all the bodies still trapped under rubble in towns yet bombarded. Those countless dead just get buried in articles that are really about Israel's mourning.

Sir Stephen Wall says it well when he notes how "sympathy for Israel and her suffering, the detestation of terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and the desire to see a durable cessation of hostilities do not justify silence, or adequately explain the reasons for it." Peace is complex, but that doesn't mean we cannot cry out for it. Who will be "the restorer of streets to dwell in"?


Brent A said...

Charles Krauthamer wrote an interesting op-ed on this topic - Worth a read in response to your comments: http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/krauthammer072806.php3

James said...

I really appreciate what you wrote. The lack of reasoned thought from anyone in this country on the Israel-Lebanon matter has been maddening.

Jen Strange said...


Interesting piece indeed, but the errors in his argument seem too terrible. He's passionate, but passion isn't enough, and all the argumentative points stem from mere emotions rather than reasonable evidence.

For example, the whole comparison to America's and Britain's behavior in WWII is illegimate. Those are apples where today's Israel is an orange if ever I saw fresh produce. Unbelievable.

Of course, Krauthamer is concerned with the idea of "proportionate response," and that's why he reaches back to such moments--indeed, whether or not those were proportionate is beyond my knowledge to even consider well.

But I can smell a poorly composed argument for sure, and this one is poor. He suggests that Hezbollah's missles are so terrible that Israel must annihilate any location that houses them, but I think I could run away from a Hezbollah missle if I saw one coming. Okay, maybe not, but close. Besides, there's hardly any civilian left in the northern Israeli towns they're hitting because they've easily evacuated out of the missles' range.

He claims it's kindness that Israel hasn't blown out Lebanon's power, choosing bridges, roads, and airports instead; this means that most civilians actually cannot evacuate the southern towns and aid agencies cannot get in because transportation is maimed. Yes, this harms Hezbollah, but it also traps civilians in towns under major seige. And it's always the poor who are most affected in such situations--they have the least ability to leave and need the most help.

Finally, he aims to justify killing around 30 Lebanese for every Israeli just on the notion that "we can't help it if Hezbollah puts their missles in highly populated places and thereby uses civilians as human shields." You don't fight terrorism with terrorism. I'd rather see the globe go up in smoke than hear that kind of moral argument celebrated.